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Flint
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Jun 2 2015 16:52

Arab participation/alliance with Tev-Dem/YPG

Quote:
Since July 10, 2014 Humaydi Dahmam al-Assi al-Jarba, a cousin of Ahmet Jarba, former head of the Syrian opposition, has been a co-governor in the province of Hasakah. Humaydi Dahman al-Assi is a leading tribal head from the Shammar tribe.

Syrian Kurds Appoint Arab Governor

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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) “prince of Hasaka”, northeast of Syria, issued a statement on Friday threatening the prominent leader of al-Shammar Arab tribe in Qamishli environs, Hmedi Dahham al-Hadi, after the latter formed al-Karama army to support the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) against ISIL group.

According to the statement (published online by ISIL-linked activists), the menace’s reason is al-Karama army’s cooperation with the Kurdish YPG forces in northern Syria.

The statement asserted that ISIL “will fight al-Karama army, established by al-Shumar tribe’s militants, by all the means possible”. It also invited the army to “repent and give themselves up”...

Zyad al-Hadi, nephew of al-Shammar tribal leader and a militant in al-Karama army, told ARA News: “We receive these ongoing threats directly and indirectly but they will not demoralize us.”

Al-Shammar leader threatened by ISIL for cooperation with Syria Kurds, June 8, 2014

There are Shammar in the YPG and YPJ in addition to Liwa Ahrar al-Jazira (LAJ).
Arab youth in the front line with YPG and YPJ, August 8, 2014

"Liwa Ahrar al-Jazira disbanded. Also, it was Shammar tribal militia. Their fighters than formed Karama army, which is now known as Sanadid army."

"Sanadid deployed large force in Tal Hamis battle and are in charge of security of Shammar areas, also jointly control Til Kocer border town"

"Also, not all Shammar are pro-YPG, it's mostly the historically dominant al-Jarba branch, who were the ones supporting YPG. During the February Tel Hamis offensive, loads of Shammaris from al-Faddagha branch were killed fighting for IS against their al-Jarba kinsmen and YPG."

Reddit discussion on the Arab tribes working with the YPG

Zubayd support YPG.

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Assyrian communities in the area have begun to form militias that man checkpoints to guard access points to their villages. They are reportedly being organized and trained by an ethnic Assyrian, former Swiss Army soldier and are seeking the assistance of the YPG. Yazidi villagers are stated to have been threatened by Salafi-jihadi fighters and as a result have either fled their villages or are turning to the YPG for armed support. In addition, the al-Sharabiyya and Zubayd Arab tribal communities in the area also reportedly feel sufficiently threatened by the ongoing conflict in Ras al-Ayn and have accepted arms and affiliation with the YPG.

The Battle for Syrias Al Hasakah Province, October 24, 2013

Jawala, Sharabi (Sharabiya), Benitaba and Rashid

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The operation you carried out last year didn’t succeed and Arabs in the region opposed you. What attitude was displayed by the local Arab population this time?

All the minorities in the Jazira Canton participated in this operation. I may not mention all of them one by one but a number of tribes such as Shamar, Jawala, Sharabi, Benitaba and Rashid all took part in the operation. In addition to units affiliated to the Syriac Military Council and the tribe of Shamar. It was a successful operation. That is to say, the attitude of the local Arabs wasn’t like last year’s.

YPG Spokesman Redur Xelil: Liberation of Tal Hamis is a Very Strategic Gain, March 1, 2015

New group of Sanadid forces completes trainings, March 15, 2015

Video: Arabic Senadid Forces Speak about YPG Cooperation, February 28, 2015

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Notably, YPG and FSA-linked sources confirmed Sunday that there is no intention for the YPG fighters to enter or stay in the Arab villages and areas, and that the administration of theses areas will be assigned solely to the FSA factions only.

Kurdish forces cooperate with FSA to free Arab villages from ISIS, February 15, 2015

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hundreds of people participated in the funeral of seven Arab fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the city of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain), in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria.

The victims, who were killed during the battles against Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) in the fighting front of Sere Kaniye, were buried in the village of Bir Kafri near Derbassiyeh in Hasakah province... Members of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) emphasized the necessity of participation by all the Syrian components in the ranks of the YPG forces, saying that these forces are established to protect all social components in northern Syria, “not only Kurds”.

Kurds bid farewell to Arab fighters killed in anti-ISIS battles northern Syria, March 19, 2015

Syrian Kurds and Arabs unified against ISIL. September 29, 2014

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The ISIS and other Islamist armed opposition groups had earlier forced the Kurdish FSA group Jabhat al-Akrad (close to the PYD and PKK) out of the mixed areas in the north of Syria – al-Bab, Azzaz, Raqqah, Tel Ebyad, the countryside of Aleppo and other areas – after the YPG expelled the ISIS and other Islamist groups from the mixed city of Ras al-Ayn on July 17. Jabhat al-Akrad was also expelled from the FSA’s Military Council in August (Transnational Middle-East Observer, August 15).

Jabhat al-Akrad was most likely created by the PYD to gain access to mixed Arab-Kurdish areas and to make logistics between the three Kurdish enclaves easier. “Kurds in Syria live in various Arab cities, towns and villages. We wanted Kurds to have a common organization in these regions with other ethnicities. Therefore, we established Jabhat al Akrad,” said Haji Ahmad Kurdi, head of Jabhat al-Akrad (Rudaw, August 11).

A New Strategy Toward the Arab Population

However, since the YPG took over Ras al-Ayn and Jabhat al-Akrad was expelled from most mixed areas, the PYD and YPG have changed their strategy. On October 24, the YPG captured the Iraqi Yaroubiya border crossing with the support of local Arab tribes (al-Monitor, November 25). Some Arab villages supported the YPG in expelling FSA and Islamist fighters in villages surrounding Ras al-Ayn as a result of looting by armed opposition groups (al-Monitor, October 8)...

The PYD therefore maintains a careful policy towards the mixed areas and tries to incorporate Arabs and Christians in their interim administration. This is also part of the imprisoned PKK leader’s ideology of democratic confederalism, which opposes a centralist nation-state and aims to preserve internal autonomy.

Öcalan’s system of confederalism aims for “political self-administration where all groups of society and all cultural identities can express themselves in local meetings, general conventions and councils,” Öcalan wrote in his ideology of democratic confederalism, released on March 20, 2005. [1]

Sinem Muhammad, co-head of the PYD People’s Council for West Kurdistan, said that the PYD rejects borders and called for the recognition of ethnic differences between Arabs and Kurds. She said that in mixed areas, Arabs have the right to have their own council and participate in the administration with their own councils. [2]

The ideology of the PYD and PKK seems to have had some success in the Arab village of Alook, close to Ras al-Ayn, where local Arabs thanked the YPG (al-Monitor, October 13). A local council of Arabs was formed in the village with the help of the PYD, and the YPG stayed out of the village to demonstrate that they do not want to change the local demography.
The YPG also got some support from members of the Shammar tribe when they took over the Yaroubiya border crossing on October 24. The Shammar tribe’s FSA brigade, the Liwa Ahrar al-Jazira (LAJ), was expelled from Yaroubiya in mid-October following allegations of corruption by the al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). [3] The YPG used the local resentment against al-Qaeda to dominate the town.

There are signs that the YPG is now trying to incorporate Arabs in their armed formations. On November 1, the YPG created an Arab brigade in Ras al-Ayn called Ahrar al-Watan (Free Men of the Homeland), led by Hawas al-Akub (Hawar News Agency, November 1). Also in Yaroubiya, local Arabs joined YPG security formations and local Arabs and Kurds will reportedly jointly administer the border-crossing (al-Monitor, November 25).

PYD leader Salih Muslim outlined a clearer Arab policy in a recent interview, saying that the PYD’s militias would fight against jihadi groups, but would not force out local Arabs, whether settlers or native Arabs:

There are three sorts of Arabs among us: there are those with whom we have always lived and who we have fought alongside. We defend the brotherhood between these peoples. There are those who do not belong, Arabs who came from outside, other countries or the region, the jihadists who have burned our homes, and decapitated Kurds. Finally, there are the Arabs who were moved to Kurdistan by force by [former Syrian President] Hafez al-Assad ... to Arabize the region. They are victims ... and we advocate a peaceful solution for these populations. Those who can return to their hometowns should do so and the others can live in peace with the Kurds (AFP December 2).

It seems that the most powerful Kurdish party, the PKK-affiliated PYD, has decided to expand their control over mixed areas in Northern Syria instead of cooperating with the FSA. Their aim is to create a transitional administration. In mixed areas under their control, the PYD also wants to create councils of the local population based on the ideology of imprisoned PKK leader Öcalan and has a ‘soft policy’ that gives local Arabs their own local power. The PYD aims to include local Arabs and Christians in their administration project and their militias, or to cooperate with independent Arab or Christian militias.

Kurdish Strategy Towards Ethnically-Mixed Areas in the Syrian Conflict, Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 11 Issue: 23, December 13, 2013

Flint
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Jun 2 2015 14:46

Rojava Forces: Cizîrê Canton, with size, locations and roles. Hêzên Xwe Parastinê (thats the static infantry that includes conscripts) is significantly larger than I thought. It is interesting to note that there is a separate Syriac Christian police force--Sutoro("Security"), but not a separate police for Arabs--only the Asayish. Also, note the acknowledgement of 200 HPG (PKK) in the ranks of the YPG.

There are Arabs in the Asayish, some of whom were killed defending Khabur. Arab Asayish martyrs of the #Khabur resistance

Flint
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Jun 2 2015 14:54
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The Kurdish administration in the autonomous cantons has continuously placed emphasis on the protection it offers to minorities. In Cezire canton, Arab and Assyrian battalions form part of the YPG military force. Sheikh Humeydi Denhan, the leader of the Arab Shemmar tribe, is the co-president of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Cezire canton (the YPG is the PYD’s military wing). The Sheikh is an example of cooperation between Arab and Kurdish communities that the YPG hopes to build on.

'Sherwan Qasem, a humanitarian worker in Turkey, said: “The example of Sheikh Humeydi Denhan from the Shemmar clan is exactly the model the Kurds are looking to build on in Rojava. The problem is, for most Arabs, they are not buying it.”

While the YPG may not have fully gained the trust of Arab communities, the YPG have been careful not to increase tensions in the area. Between Tel Abyad and Serekaniye lie hundreds of Arab villages that were originally Kurdish. During the 1970s, the Assad regime pursued a policy of Arabisation on the Turkish border, essentially displacing Kurdish villagers. But instead of raiding the villages and returning them to the Kurds, the YPG have left them alone.

...

One of the new arrivals to this madrasa was an Arab imam from a village near the city of Qamishlo. Two months ago, IS entered his village, but when it became clear he wasn't going to pay lip service to the group, he was forced to flee to Turkey.

“For months, my village had been under YPG control. The Kurds didn't do anything to me, but as soon as ISIS came, it was Arabs who destroyed my home,” Naksibendi said. However, while keen to vent his anger towards IS, he was more hesitant about backing YPG. “My family will never fully support YPG. While I appreciate the security they have offered, many Arabs believe they don't represent us enough.”

Such reluctance to support the YPG is a challenge that the YPG need to overcome. But there is hope on the horizon. The Burkan al-Furat, a military coalition of YPG and various Arab forces - including the Arab Raqqa Rebels who fought alongside the YPG in the defence of Kobane - are part of the advance against IS. Such an alliance will be crucial in convincing Arabs that they are a legitimate force, and if successful, could become a blueprint of Kurdish-Arab cooperation in defeating IS. The challenge to convince the Arab citizens will certainly be a tall order, and in many ways, this is the greatest challenge facing the YPG if they are to successfully implement their project across Syria.

YPG's greatest challenge: Kurdish-Arab relations in Syria: As YPG prepares for an offensive on the border city of Tel Abyad, how will Arab citizens react towards a predominantly Kurdish force?, April 6, 2015

Flint
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Jun 2 2015 16:02
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“The Arabs came from the Arab belt. Whoever is in power, they support them. Because the YPG leaves them alone, they appreciate them. But if they can choose between the YPG and the regime, they would choose the regime. But they appreciate the YPG from liberating it from the Free Syrian Army [FSA],” said Kovan Direj, a local Kurdish journalist.

“Only the FSA causes problems. We wish the situation would return to the past. Why did they come here, why did they want to free us? From what? There is nothing here. We never demonstrate. They came here to free us from the YPG, thinking it was a Kurdish village. They don’t know anything about us. They are being taught the YPG are unbelievers, they think everybody is an unbeliever,” said Abu Hamza.

The YPG has a small office near the road on the outskirts of Alouk. The YPG says they don’t want to hurt the Arab population, although the Arab villagers were brought by the regime. “For us, it’s a philosophy. We Kurds see the Arabs as brothers. The Kurds have always protected the Arabs, but the Arabs didn’t protect us. Now they build their own community. If they want help from us, we will help them.” said Qamislo.

The YPG fighters fiercely deny they want to remove the Arab villagers, Qamislo said. "The regime wanted to change the demography of the area, but we don’t want to change it.”

Both the Arab villagers and YPG fighters accuse the Islamist fighters of stealing everything. “Our ideology says they can have their own flags and schools, and teach their own language. The only thing we want from them is to regard the Kurds as their brothers.”

Syrian Arab Village Welcomes Kurdish Fighters, October 13, 2013

The FSA group being mentioned here is Islamist groups such as Ahrar al-Sham which has allied with Jabhat al-Nursa (Al Qaeda in Syria)

Quote:
Several pro-opposition media outlets and activists accuse the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) of committing human rights abuses against Arabs in the areas it recaptures from the Islamic State in northeast Syria.

Here, Akram Salih, pro-opposition Orient News correspondent embedded with YPG forces in the Al-Hasakah countryside, talks to Syria Direct's Osama Abu Zeid about the allegations, which he describes as “merely talk.”

Q: There's been talk recently about violations that the YPG has committed against Arab civilians in the Al-Hasakah countryside, things like forced migration, burning property, etc. What's your take?

“It's merely talk. Talk that hasn't been attributed to any specific individual, but rather to media activists—without mention of who exactly these activists are. What sort of activist is able to be present, right now, in the middle of the ongoing battles? At the very least there are no pictures available that prove the claim [that the YPG is committing violations against Arab citizens].

Secondly, it's the total opposite of what's going on. The YPG presents emergency aid to the residents of the areas they liberate from IS control.”

Q: What about the pictures that were published recently that show agricultural land burning in those areas under YPG control? As the YPG enters the villages?

“As for burning agricultural land, that's a result of mortars falling during the battles themselves. Keep in mind that right now is harvest season [meaning that fields burn more easily].”

On the Record: YPG expelling Al-Hasakah Arabs ‘merely talk’, May 27, 2015

Flint
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Jun 2 2015 19:23

Ahh... here is another article by Hannah Lucinda Smith that claims the MFS (Syriac Military Council)/Syriac Union Party (SUP) has an uneasy alliance with the YPG.

Quote:
"It is an uneasy alliance. The YPG has never openly opposed the Syrian regime as the MFS have, and no-one knows what kind of deal can be struck between the two groups should the Kurds get the autonomy that they have coveted for so long."

Christians, Kurds join forces against 'IS'. May 5, 2015

She's is referencing a group that used to be nicknamed the "Assyrian PKK". Notice how she doesn't quote anyone in the MFS or even the local Syriac community talking about an "uneasy alliance".

The history of the Syriac revolutionaries is fascinating in its own right, but they are tight with the PYD and were part of the administration since the very start of Tev-Dem.

Quote:
in 2013, a police force called Sutoro opened three stations in the Jazira area, and a military force called the Syriac Military Council (Mawtbo Fulhoyo Suryoyo or MFS) announced its existence in an online video. The MFS initially hinted at future military action against the regime, but this never materialized. Instead, a more immediate and existential threat appeared, as a coalition of rebel and jihadist groups suddenly attacked. The MFS and the YPG soon fought side-by-side in the frontlines to defend the area, while Sutoro developed an increasingly close cooperation with its Kurdish counterpart Asayish. Just like in the 1990s, Dawronoye integrated into the security structures of their Kurdish allies, while retaining their own organizations and financing themselves through diaspora donations.

Around the same time as the attacks began, the PYD invited other parties and civil society organizations to participate in a process to form local governance structures. Most turned down the offer, fearing that the PYD would continue to dominate, but the SUP participated actively from the beginning until the end. Among the chief declared goals was one to ensure the peaceful coexistence of different ethnic and religious communities. With unmistaken symbolism, one of the first meetings was conducted across the border in Midyat, where Kurdish representatives took the opportunity to apologize for their people’s role in Seyfo. When the autonomous “Jazira canton” was declared in January 2014, representatives of the SUP took up positions in the government and legislative assembly, while Syriac, Arabic, and Kurdish were declared official languages.

“We believe that this philosophy of [the PKK leader] Ocalan can be a model not just for the Kurds but for other peoples also,” says Nazira Goriye, the co-spokesperson of the legislative assembly. “We want our rights not just as Christians, but as a people, as a nation. This is why we are on the side of the Kurds, not on Assad’s side. Assad tries to give our people a morphine injection.”

The Revolutionaries of Bethnahrin, May 25, 2015

Hannah Lucinda Smith fabricated an "uneasiness". She's talking shit she doesn't know about and would frankly sound ludicrous to anyone in the MFS.

Flint
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Jun 2 2015 19:34

Assyrian Nationalists Cooperate with Kurdish PKK Insurgents, Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 8, April 3, 2009

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Devrim
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Jun 2 2015 19:42
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Hannah Lucinda Smith fabricated an "uneasiness". She's talking shit she doesn't know about and would frankly sound ludicrous to anyone in the MFS

I don't know this journalist nor hav CI read this article. I have spoken to Assyrians (here in Turkey not in Syria) who have talked about this 'unease' though. I certainly don't think it's ridiculous.

The think is that you keep posting loads of stuff about how the PYD is on good terms with the Arabs. You don't think it's possible that they are committing acts of ethnic cleansing. I think it is completely expectable.

I also think that these current stories about ethnic cleansing could be lies.

We will see whether it's true or not. Posting loads of stuff about why you think it can't be true, won't change that.

Devrim

kurekmurek
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Jun 2 2015 19:49

But I really enjoy the links Flint posted I am ok to get more interesting articles related to Rojava. Of course the reality behind this ethic cleaning story will must be revealed in its own right. I think we definitely have an agreement there.

Flint
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Jun 2 2015 21:12

Lots of Assyrians distrust Kurds because of historic Kurdish involvement in genocide against Assyrians. Yes, that is totally understable uneasiness. That's not the claim that Smith was making. Smith was claiming the MFS was "uneasy" about alliance with the PYD/YPG. If anything, the MFS are PKK-trained proxies.

Ofcourse ethnic cleansing is a possibility. Its happening all over the place in Syria, and in particular Ahrar ash-Sham (FSA) was doing it to Kurds in Syria a couple years ago. Supposedly, Daesh and some local Arab tribal militias are doing it right now, including 600 refugees stuck at the border . Still no word when Pale Blue Jadal will call on the Turkish state to let those refugees in; nor has PBS (not to be confused with Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol or the International Communist Current!) given an opinion on the videos of Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı(MIT) trucks moving arms into Syria which certainly weren't going to the YPG. 1,000 mortar shells, hundreds of grenade launchers and more than 80,000 rounds of ammunition for light and heavy weapons. Or Erdogan threatening the press over it. I'd say those revelations were moving Kurdish votes from AKP to HDP, but most of those votes already moved and Erdogan's support for anyone but the YPG is sort of assumed.

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Devrim
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Jun 2 2015 20:54
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till no word when Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol will call on the Turkish state to let those refugees in; nor has EKS given an opinion on.,,

This would presumably be because the organisation cease to exist more that six years ago.

Devrim

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 2 2015 20:54

EKS dissolved like 6 years ago?

Flint
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Jun 2 2015 20:58

Whatever the left-communist group Devrim has influence in is called.

Admittedly that's entirely troll bait, but Devrim already stated he doesn't even bother to read the article I put forward without restating his opinion. He can't read half of them anyway because they are blocked in Turkey and he doesn't care enough to get around the block.

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Devrim
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Jun 2 2015 20:58
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That's not the claim that Smith was making. Smith was claiming the MFS was "uneasy" about alliance with the PYD/YPG.

Yes, that's what I've heard people say.

Devrim

Flint
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Jun 2 2015 21:07

Here, I'll fix it and give the benefit of a doubt... I look forward to Pale Blue Jadal's denouncement of bourgeois state of Turkey's border control policies that prohibit unarmed Kurdish refugees from fleeing the Tel Abyad area into Turkey, but allow the movement of weapons into Syria where they end up in the hands of the Ahrar ash-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra.

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Devrim
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Jun 2 2015 21:08
Joseph Kay wrote:
EKS dissolved like 6 years ago?

Ye, six years ago.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Jun 2 2015 21:14
Flint wrote:
Here, I'll fix it and give the benefit of a doubt... I look forward to Pale Blue Jadal's denouncement of bourgeois state of Turkey's border control policies...

Again not a group I'm a member of.

Am I personally against the Turkish state arming people in the Syrian war, and not letting refugees cross the boarder? Well yes obviously, I am, and I'm sure Pale Blue Jadel are too.

Devrim

Flint
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Jun 3 2015 01:20

The Lafarge Cement plant website, unchanged since before the civil war
http://www.lafarge.com.sy/

Flint
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Jun 3 2015 18:29

BBC Interview "Allegations against the Kurds of Syria and PYD response" with Hannah Lucinda Smith and Jiwan Efrin, is a representative of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in London, June 3rd, 2015

Hannah Lucinda Smith went to Rojava--specifically Tel Hamis--in April 2015 with an armed Christian group/militia allied with the YPG (presumably the MFS, who she published a story on here). She claims to have been there 6 weeks after YPG took the area from ISIS.

Transcript:

Quote:
Hannah Lucinda Smith:"There have been various stories coming out for the past three or four months about things that are going on in the area of northeastern Syria thats controlled by the Kurds and partly by ISIS. This is the area around the city of Hasakah, also aroudn the city of Ras al-Ayn, and around Kobane as well there, Kurdish fores are fighting.

Hannah Lucinda Smith:"Various bits of testimony started coming out saying that the YPG were basically preventing Arab civilians from returning to their homes once the fighting was finished. The most striking things people were talking about again and again was that the YPG forces were going into villages and burning houses to prevent people from returning.

Hannah Lucinda Smith:"I then actually went to Rojava myself in April, I didn't go with the YPG I went with a Christian armed group who are kind of allied with the YPG. And we went to places around Tel Hamis, which was taken back by the YPG from ISIS in Februrary and we came 6 weeks after. There was a large area that was absolutely deserted. This Arab towns and villages. There was a large amount of destruction. We were told it was done by air strikes. But it was quite clear that a lot that was not done by air strikes. Some damage was very clearly done by artillery. Other damage that was done by fire."

Quote:
BBC Interviewer: "O.K there has been fighting there, what did the YPG the Kurdish People's Protection Units what did they tell you about what might have happened?"
Quote:
Hannah Lucinda Smith: "What they say is that they--they're trying to rid the area--secure the area from the threat of ISIS. So, what they say is that they are not targetting civilians, they are targetting people are harbouring or supporting ISIS fighters.

Hannah Lucinda Smith: "What the arab civilians are saying is that its more a kind of collective retribution.

Hannah Lucinda Smith: "One of the fighters, again he wasn't YPG, he was one of the christian militia who is allied with the YPG, when we asked him about this he said well you know all of the people in this area support ISIS.

Hannah Lucinda Smith: "Its really difficult one to prove because the YPG have a very, very strong media operation, they keep a really tight check on journalists. Its hard to go anywhere without consent of the YPG.

Hannah Lucinda Smith: "The refugees who have left these village, alot of them have gone into ISIS areas because there is no other place that they can go. It was hard to gather testimony. It took a very long time to do that."

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BBC Interviewer: "This is not connected to different branches of Islam though is it? Because Kurds are Sunnis as well as the Arabs that you spoke to."
Quote:
Hannah Lucinda Smith: "Absolutely, you know its important to say that Kurds are Sunnis, and there are alot of conservative Kurds."

Hannah Lucinda Smith: "The YPG is something quite different, they follow the ideology of Abdullah Ocalan. He is the leader of the PKK--the Kurdistan Workers Party--who has been imprisoned in Turkey for the last decade."

Hannah Lucinda Smith: "This is a very secular left wing ideology, do they not consider themselves muslims. So, its not all kurds--its very specifically the YPG fighters."

Quote:
BBC Interviewer: "Where did you get your figure of 10,000 arabs driven out?"
Quote:
Hannah Lucinda Smith: "This was from an NGO source, I can't tell you the name of the NGO."
Quote:
BBC Interviewer: "Just the one source?"
Quote:
Hannah Lucinda Smith: "It uses a variety of sources on the ground. They're monitoring all areas. Its not just one source, its a source that comes from a humanitarian organization.
Quote:
BBC Interviewer: "And where have those thousands gone do you believe?

"

Quote:
Hannah Lucinda Smith: "A lot have gone towards in Hasakah in northeastern Syria that lies between Raqqa and Mosul. Some others have gone to Raqqa and very few have come into Turkey."

--

Quote:
Jiwan Afrin: "These allegations, they are biased allegations. They have not taken place. They haven't been verified by the journalist who wrote these allegations... "

Jiwan Afrin: "The Arab component form 14% of the YPG force. This force actually, Arab force which is the FSA with YPG now are in active operation against ISIS. 14% of the actual force on the ground they are Arabs, and other components like Syrica Military Council, al-Khabour forces, Arab al-Senadid forces which are the Arab tribes. Now how come all these forces haven't noticed this type of allegations or this type of acts have taken place."

Jiwan Afrin: "The other thing I would like us to point out sir is Rojava's actual policy or the society we are striving to form is the multi-cultural secular society and it is not based just on a pure national objective that the YPG is persuing"

Quote:
BBC Interviewer: "Well, I understand that maybe the policy of the leadership, but as you know when conflict comes to an area its very easy to set up divisions between people of different groups and backgorunds, and this journalist did say she saw empty villages."
Quote:
Jiwan Afrin: "Now lets put it this way now, we know that basically we've been familiar with ISIS activities and brutal war and savagery on the ground. ISIS now turned Rojava into a massive minefield. Wherever they go, they trap they put bomb traps, they put explosives.

Jiwan Afrin: "I can give Kobane as an example, still 190,000 Kobane people can not return to their home just because their home is full of explosives still.

Jiwan Afrin: "Now ISIS when they retreat from a village or somewhere they explode people, they blow up people's houses, they burn their crops, they destory their animal, whatever.

Jiwan Afrin: "ISIS has been destructive force on the ground, now this allegation basically thinking was the general command of YPG. We would like welcome media organization, UN, to do a proper investigation where this allegation took place.

Quote:
BBC Interviewer: "But your claim is that there are forces of Arab backgrounds from Kurdish backgrounds that are fighting against the Islamic State?"
Quote:
Jiwan Afrin: "That is correct."

---

Hannah Lucinda Smith is claiming that YPG fighters displaced Arabs from the Tel Hamis areas and that those arabs fled largely to Al-Hasakah. Al-Hasakah is the largest city in the Al-Hasakah goveronate/Cizire Canton. It is partially under YPG control and partly under Syrian Arab Army (SAA)/Assad control. The SAA area is currently under attack by Daesh. It seems counter-intuitive that Arab refugees fleeing YPG ethnic cleansing would flee to an area of greater, more established YPG presence. Or perhaps going exclusively to the SAA/NDF controlled neighborhoods.

Here are maps from the area in February 2015 and then April 2015 (when Hannah Lucinda Smith was there):

Here is a summary of Al-Hasakah offensive (February-March 2015)

Al-Hasakah city control divided between YPG and SAA in January 18, 2015

Flint
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Jun 3 2015 18:28

Units involved in the YPG Tel Abyad campaign.

The Following Forces Are Taking Part In The Operation:

Coming from the east--Cizîrê canton:

YPG and YPJ Forces
Rojava Asayish Forces
Senadit/Al-Senadid Forces (the military force of local Arab tribes-Shammar)
The Syriac Military Council
Sutoro
Natora
Zêrevanên Xabûr/Khabour Guards (Local Assyrian/Syria defense forces)
Liwa El-Tahrir/Liwa Al-Tahrir (the branch of the Burkan El Fırat within the Cizîrê canton), from Ras al-ain / Serekaniye

Coming from the west--Kobanê canton:

joint command of the Burkan el Firat/Burkan al-Firat/Euphrates Volcano: Most of the groups within the Burkan el Firat are also members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The joint command encompasses the following groups:

Liva El Tevhid/Liwa al-Tawhid
Liva El Siwar El Raka/Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa/Raqqa Revolutionaries
Şems El Şemal/kata'eb shams ash-shamal/Northern Sun battalions (YPG Turkmen) attached to the Fecir El Huriye/Liwa Fajr al-Hurriya/Dawn of Freedom Brigades.
YPG/YPJ Forces
Seraya Cerablus/Saraya Jarabulus
Liva Cephet El-Ekrad/Liwa' Jabhat al-'Akrad
Siwar Umunaa El Raka, another Raqqa group
El Kasas Army/Al-Qassas Army
Liva El Cihad Fi Sebilillah/Liwa al-Jihad fi Sabeel Allah/Jihad in the Path of God Brigade.

Source: Peoples’ Operation To Liberate Girê Spî From ISIS, June 2, 2015

Flint
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Jun 8 2015 21:28

Just in case you live in a cave and Libcom is the only website you can access, HDP crossed the electoral threshold and entered into parliament in Turkey as a party. If HDP rhetoric is to be believed, they will prevent Erdogan from changing the constitution of Turkey and increasing the power of the presidency. Erdogan's party the AKP also moved from being the majority party to the largest minority party in Turkey's parliament.

In immediate economic impacts, it caused the stock market in Turkey and the Lira to decrease in value.

http://www.businessinsider.com/turkish-elections-lira-and-stock-markets-tumbling-after-president-recep-tayyip-erdoan-suffers-election-blow-2015-6

kurekmurek
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Jun 9 2015 09:34

Just a quick clarification on Flint's above comment: HDP aims to change the constitution (along with lines of Rojava possibly), however they are opposed to the constitution that AKP had in mind (like presidency system etc...) So a change in constitution is still possible (as constitution is really bad actually it was created by coup d'etat in 1980, it severely limits individual and collective rights.)

HDP of course also aims to a change in foreign policy (so relating all this to Rojava again)

On funny side:

This is in what we call in Turkish "TOMA". It is a police vehicle to disperse crowds. It is hell for all social movements in Turkey. Turkish public meet with it especially in Gezi protests. (Kurds generally play not with these but with military class vehicles and full automatic rifled man)
Anyway the thing is the stock market shares of the producer of TOMAs fall 10% in just one day after the election and it is continuing to decline.
http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/ekonomi/29229123.asp

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ocelot
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Jun 9 2015 14:01

Also, just to give an idea, the company that manufactures the TOMAs is Katmerciler Ekipman, owned by one Ismail Katmerciler, who is an AKP ex-Minister. Cosy.

Quote:
Anti-government protests in 2013 offered a boost to Katmerciler, generating business for the İzmir-based company in nations such as Brazil and Libya that also face social unrest. Katmerciler sold 60 protest dispersion vehicles in 2013, up from 10 in 2012. The company had entered the TOMA business as early as 2010 and now has 350 workers. Its success is attributed to support from Erdoğan. Back in November, a government deal to purchase 65 TOMAs worth TL 40.6 million from Katmerci helped his firm's shares skyrocket.
.
TOMAs are used by the police and gendarmerie and have been exported to countries such as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Libya and Zimbabwe. The company was not immediately available to comment on its market performance on Tuesday.

(Gulenist Press)

However, on the chances of any progressive changes in the constitution or many other things for that matter, I have to agree with ROARMag editor Joris Leverkink's assessment yesterday:

Quote:
[,,,]
But where the HDP’s victory is rightfully celebrated as an important step forward for the country, it is important to note that the struggle is far from over. The battle has been won, but the war continues.
.
The party’s election manifesto — which promises, among many other things, to “realize democratic autonomy”, “establish democratic models of decentralization” and to provide a solution to the Kurdish question by “building a democratic Turkey” — reads like a blueprint for a utopian society in which justice, democracy and solidarity are the guiding principles. The harsh reality is that it is very unlikely that the party will ever become part of a ruling coalition, meaning its possibilities to bring about actual change in Turkey are limited.
.
The power of the HDP lies in, and stems from, its close connections to the movements on the streets (and in the parks, the mountains, the squats and the squares). It was grassroots campaigning, close contacts with the electorate and a great number of candidates who have a history of activism that inspired faith among people that the HDP could actually be an alternative to the established powers.
.
However, parliamentary representation should not be seen as the end goal, but rather as a means to create a space in which it is possible for the real facilitators of social change — neighborhood committees, social movements, self-organized workers, grassroots political groups, and so on — to grow, flourish, experiment and build a society in which the idea of parliamentary elections will sound as quaint and unimaginable as a confederation of self-governing communities does today.
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Khawaga
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Jun 9 2015 14:47

I'm wondering if others could comment on reports about possible civil war among Kurds. I read the following in the Norwegian leftist newspaper Klassekampen (The Class Struggle; sadly the paper is far from as revolutionary as the name would suggest):

Klassekampen wrote:
After a period with little conflict between the Kurdish authorities and the PKK, the number of arrests in the Kurdish areas have gone up over the last month.

Several violent incidents lately suggests that the level of tension between the various Kurdish militias again increases. In late May forces of the Turkish pershmerga PKK attacked an Iranian Kurdish militia - inside Iraqi Kurdistan. The basis for this conflict is that PKK is supported by Iran, while the Iranian Kurds are in conflict with the regime in Tehran.

Kurdish civil war feared

While Turkey leans heavily on the KDP, the party in power in Iraqi Kurdistan, wile Iran has its ally in the rival party PUK.

While the Western military aid to the Kurds go to KDPs militias, Iran supports the peshmergas of the PUK.

In a recent report, the think tank International Crisis Group warned against a growing rift between the various Kurdish factions, especially in Iraq.

In the report, ICG concludes that the international support to the Kurdish forces have led to increased polarization, rather than unification.

The authors of the report cites the relationship between Iran and PUK as particularly problematic, but also criticized the United States for provided weapons only to the militias belonging to the KDP.

The military support "risks producing a variety of paramilitary forces, all of whom answers to their own political leaders", concludes the International Crisis Group

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ocelot
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Jun 9 2015 16:52

Pfffioui! Hard to know where to start with an article so ignorant it refers to "the Turkish pershmerga PKK". I mean, ffs, they should at least try to show some interest in the subject...

It's also hard to make out exactly who they are referring to by the term "Iranian Kurdish militia". Obviously not the PJAK (or more precisely YRK/HPJ, to refer specifically to the PJAK's armed structures). And, from not naming the group in question, the article then, confusingly, goes on to talk about the PUK as Iran-backed, and the possibility of a KDP/PUK clash. All hopelessly confused.

As far as I can gather, the incident in question is probably a clash, killing 2, that happened between PKK and Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) (not to be confused with Barzani's Iraqi KDP, NB) on May 24 (see here and here for e.g.). A truce was announced the following day (Monday 25th). No further clashes or killings have been reported in the following 3 weeks.

I think one thing that needs to be understood in the very framing of the question "a civil war between kurds?" is that it presupposes a unified Kurdish civil society that such a conflict would then divide. No such unified civil society has ever existed. Traditional Kurdish politics is tribal, and tribal means a society divided into shifting patterns of clan allegiances to a plurality of tribal confederations who are defined essentially by being more or less permanently at war with all the others. Until the modern period, this state of perpetual warfare helped maintain a belicosity that aided the relative independence of the various Kurdish emirates and mountainous no-go zones. However in the modern period, it has meant, by the same token, that the various tribal militias, become the playthings of the competing regional and global imperialist players. The KDPI, no less that the Barzanists (KDP) and Talabanists (PUK), and all traditional Kurdish nationalist groups, remain in the long heritage of competing and warring tribal confederations. The Ocalanist/KCK affiliates - principally the PKK, but also the PYD and PJAK affiliates - to a certain degree can be seen as just another competitor in this traditional game. Except for a couple of factors. One, Ocalan and the historic PKK core do not come from the traditional ashirat (tribal) chieftian class. Two their initial naive and somewhat catastrophic foray into Kurdish politics was framed as "a war on feudalism" which quickly came a cropper and eventually ended up dragging them into traditional inter-tribal warfare - resulting eventually in a gerilla that was majoritarian (newly) displaced peasant ashirat kurds lead by an educated urban rayat (non-tribal "subject") cadre. In theory this shouldn't provide an insurmountable barrier to accepting re-absorption into traditional ashirat politics, as tribal structures have always been flexible enough to allow new elites from outside existing Kurdish tribes to become dominant. However, for various reasons, the Democratic Autonomy turn - targeting as it does the patriarchal reproductive roots of tribalism - is explicitly aimed at undermining the continual reproduction of tribalism. Whether that strategy will succeed or not remains to be seen, but it is a novel strategy in the history of Kurdish nationalist politics. Certainly in Bakur (Northern, i.e. within Turkish state) Kurdistan, the level of overcoming of traditional tribal emnities for this last election, while far from complete, has gone much further than anything seen before. Thanks as much to Erdogan's cack-handed interventions over Kobani, as much as anything else, to give credit where credit's due, but evenso.

Certainly, however, regardless of the minor PKK-KDPI skirmishes, there are tensions in KRG (Iraqi/Bashur Kurdistan) over Barzani's supposed legal need to run an election soon. Although the PUK are a much weakened force, having been supplanted somewhat by the Gorran movement (Movement for Change) putting it up to both Barzani and Talabani. Somehow Barzani needs to find a pretext to cancel/postpone the elections, and some kind of clash can't be ruled out. But in some ways this is just "business as usual" really.

For some background "colour" on Iranian Kurds, KDPI, Komala, PJAK, etc http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/05/iran-turkey-syria-kurds-iranian-kurds-rise-up.html

edit: also this is not bad for Rudaw http://rudaw.net/english/opinion/04062015

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Khawaga
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Jun 9 2015 16:54

Thanks for that Ocelot. I also reacted to the liberal use of Pershmerga and therefore thought that something ain't right if they're that sloppy. Add to the fact that it's the first place I've ever seen even a suggestions of civil war, but not really following event that closely I could not judge for myself. But it also show that the journalistic standards at that paper, which used to be really good when it came to matters on international news, has taken a nose-dive.

Quote:
I think one thing that needs to be understood in the very framing of the question "a civil war between kurds?" is that it presupposes a unified Kurdish civil society that such a conflict would then divide. No such unified civil society has ever existed.

This is a really good point.

Edit: I re-read the article to see what sources it relies on. While the piece is longer, it mostly deals with Turkey and HDP and for that they only have one source. A Norwegian leftist activist that was down there. For the bit that I quoted nothing is presented as evidence. Surprised I missed that the first time around.

Edit 2: Link to article if folks want to machine translate it (as a short cut I did that with what I posted, but fixed some of the glaring mistranslations). http://www.klassekampen.no/article/20150608/ARTICLE/150609860

Flint
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Jun 10 2015 14:07

There is a greater than zero chance that Barzani will resort to violence to maintain power when faced with an electoral challenge to relinquish the KRG presidency and the very real material benefits he receives from it and the patronage system that Barzani uses for support.

Also, business as usual for Barzani is suppressing any sort of autonomy movement in his perceived sphere of influence, such as suppressing the HPS militia in Sinjar/Sengal (and Rudaw loyally claiming Iranian influence on HPS). HPS isn't near the threat in Iraq/KRG that the HPG/PKK being in Sinjar, Makmour, Kirkuk, etc...

With the PUK in a literal coma and collapsing... it's left split Gorran (Movement for Change) has already eclipsed it electorally. Gorran's rhetorical platform was destroying the KDP-PUK patron machine. If Gorran gains the remaining PUK votes, it would be the electoral majority. Even an a Gorran-PUK alliance now has the votes to oust Barzani from the presidency; which is why he delayed presidential elections by two years. That two years, he has only lost popularity.. not gained it from several problems: the abandonment of the Yezidi on Sinjar, the economic boycott of Rojava, digging a literal trench between Rojava and KRG, delays in public sector payments, economic decline, the weakness of the peshmerga where Daesh almost made it into Erbil/Howler and the road had to be blocked by the PKK, failing to protect Makmour, and the usual charges of corruption, nepotism, embezzlement and authoritarian rule.

The recent flare up with KDPI (distinct from the KDP) by entering into HPG/PKK territory is seen by some as the KDPI as a proxy for the KDP to test the PKK or cause some sort of incident to weaken the PKK’S growing popularity in the KRG/Iraq/Bashur. The PKK is probably more popular than it has ever been. Rudaw dutifully reporting KDPI rhetoric that the PKK was allied with Iran, was made up of Alevis not Sunnis, etc...

The KDP has lost almost all influence in Rojava, and all powersharing agreements with the PYD and the KNC (which is largely KDP affilates parties or their allies, some only a few individuals) failed to work, and with the recent elections in Rojava are void (And KDP parties boycotted the Rojava elections).

KCK/PYD has seen it can grow in failed states like Syria through a combination of canton democracy and force of arms. It's seen that it can grow parliamentary elections through the HDP in Turkey (and the HDP got far more votes than Barzani could dream of getting in KRG. The KDP affiliated parties in Turkey aren't significant). Iraq is a failing state, the KRG is a failing defacto-state. Barzani faces a decision to either have a presidential election he would like lose, or defy parliament's increasing demands to have one. If he flagrantly defies it, we might see new cantons form in Sinjar, Makmour and Sulaymaniyah (the Gorran stronghold).

The KRG peshmerga aren't a unified army. It's more a KDP militia and PUK militia that coordinate. The PUK miltia commander has indicated that he'd take orders from Gorran parliamentary ministers. He also gave his personal sniper rifle to a PYD representative to defend Rojava. The PUK militia in Rojava dissolved into the YPG.

The PKK is barred by the KRG from having an electoral party (they even banned YPG funerals in KRG). PKK has indicated support for Gorran. Gorran has indicated support for the HPG/PKK in defending KRG, and support for the YPG in Rojava.

For Newroz this year, HPG/PKK openly paraded on the streets of Sulaymaniyah.

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/kurdkish-parties-puk-pkk-ally-to-curb-barzani-power-in-syria.html

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/pkk-barzani-challenge-kurdistan.html#

http://kurdistantribune.com/2013/ocalan-v-barzani-two-contradictory-worlds/

http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/02022014

http://vvanwilgenburg.blogspot.com/2014/02/gorran-supporting-pkkpyd.html?m=1

http://mobile.todayszaman.com/columnist/orhan-miroglu/disagreements-between-pro-kurdish-groups_348482.html

http://kurdistantribune.com/2015/massoud-barzanis-controversial-presidency/

Flint
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Jun 10 2015 00:39

(Duplicate)

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Devrim
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Jun 10 2015 05:28
Quote:
Rudaw dutifully reporting KDPI rhetoric that the PKK was allied with Iran, was made up of Alevis (like Assad) not Kurds, etc...

Turkish Alevis and Arab Alevis are actually different religions. They are usually referred to as 'Alevis' and 'Alawites' in English. If the PKK were made up of Alevis, they wouldn't be the same Alevis as Assad.

Devrim

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Entdinglichung
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Jun 10 2015 08:15
Devrim wrote:
Quote:
Rudaw dutifully reporting KDPI rhetoric that the PKK was allied with Iran, was made up of Alevis (like Assad) not Kurds, etc...

Turkish Alevis and Arab Alevis are actually different religions. They are usually referred to as 'Alevis' and 'Alawites' in English. If the PKK were made up of Alevis, they wouldn't be the same Alevis as Assad.

Devrim

also quite funny because for long time, the PKK was comparatively weak among the non-Sunni and non-Kurmandji-speaking inhabitants of North-West Kurdistan and was in areas like Dersim perceived as a Sunni & Kurmandji org

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Devrim
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Jun 10 2015 17:39
Entdinglichung wrote:
also quite funny because for long time, the PKK was comparatively weak among the non-Sunni and non-Kurmandji-speaking inhabitants of North-West Kurdistan and was in areas like Dersim perceived as a Sunni & Kurmandji org

It still is perceived in that way by many people. A personal friend from Dersim, who I was talking to recently typifies this. He said he was even voting for HDP because "you have to", but he still felt that the PKK was funds mentally an anti-Alevi organisation.

Now personally I think it's true that the Kurdish national movement has changed on this question, but you can't blame people who feel uncomfortable with it basically for having memories.

Devrim